Re: Non-standardized houses?
From: Craig Ragland (
Date: Tue, 26 Aug 2008 12:58:47 -0700 (PDT)
Some suggest that lot model cohousing developments is far easier to create,
as they require much less agreement on the thousands of specifics required
to build housing using production methods.

I believe that they might also support a wider ranges of economic
capabilities of the residents, e.g. Rob's community, Sharingwood, has some
very expensive and some very inexpensive private homes. They do mean that
the family wanting to live there has the capability of building a custom
home... something that very few people do in America, although many aspire

Songaia briefly considered using a lot model, but we decided that we wanted
a more integrated look and feel. An architectural theme that brings us
together, rather than being expressions of individual differences. We may
have "cookie-cutter" homes, but we are far from a "cookie-cutter" community
despite our choice to build out, all-at-once, using professionals to get us
out of an extended construction phase and I suspect that few of our current
residents would have taken on building custom homes for themselves.

I think both are useful approaches, but am clear thy have significant
implications for a Forming Community - on quite a large number of
dimensions. Same thing for Retro-fit Cohousing.

I have observed that many lot-model communities have had a lot of empty lots
or ongoing construction projects for many years... which is either a good or
bad thing, depending on what the community and individuals want for itself.


On Tue, Aug 26, 2008 at 12:49 PM, John Faust <wjfaust [at]> wrote:

> >
> >
> > Are you sure you want to head in that direction?  Here at Eno Commons,
> > we only had two house designs (cost saving) and we went with a
> > production builder (another cost saving).  However, I do not believe
> > our community has a cookie-cutter feel.
> >
> >
> That's a really important point. I know when I walk through my own
> conventional subdivision, it definitely has a cookie cutter feel to it. The
> single-family homes are minor variants on a common theme and stand on their
> own merit. However, when I walk through two of the cohousing communities in
> nearby Tucson (Sonora, Stone Curves), my response is very different even
> though they are multi-family (condo-like) structures. I think it is because
> of the architecture of the whole. It suggests something larger and more
> coherent than just individual houses. Like most cohousing communities, they
> are clustered around common areas without the intruding streets, driveways
> or boundary walls that break up conventional subdivisions.
> John Faust
> Desert Mosaic Cohousing
> (forming in Sierra Vista, AZ)
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Craig Ragland

Coho/US executive director
craig [at]

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